Breastfeeding a Sleepy Baby
When my first son was a newborn baby he was very sleepy during the first month of life. During a feed, he would nod off to sleep and then wake a few minutes later then fall asleep again a few minutes after this and so the cycle continued.
I feel it is a wonderful thing to feed a baby to sleep; to see them become full and satisfied and 'drunk' on breastmilk.
However, often my son would fall asleep before he was full which led to some very long feeding sessions. I would also sometimes find it uncomfortable if he was 'hanging off' my nipple for hours at a time.
I learnt some tips to keep my baby a little more awake during a feed so that he would have a full, good feed in one go. I certainly still fed him to sleep (and did so until he was around 18 months old) but when he did fall asleep at the breast it would be when he had finished that particular feed.
I would like to note here that many babies cluster feed in the evenings (particularly when they are less than 6 months old) and I believe it is important to 'go with' this type of feeding.
One tip I learnt from my Lactation Consultant was to use my finger to gentle circle around one of my baby's palms whilst he was feeding. Apparently this causes a reflex which prompts the baby to continue feeding.
Sometimes, in the daytime, I fed my baby in just a nappy so that he stayed nice and cool (I made sure he was still a comfortable temperature) as overheating can cause a baby to become sleepy.
I also find that making eye contact and chatting to your baby often keeps them feeding. Sometimes it just makes my baby laugh - which is lovely - a baby having a break in a feed to have a giggle always warms my heart :)
I'd love to read others' experiences with this,